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Mechatronics student turns education roadblock into career opportunity
Adversity sometimes prohibits people from pursuing their passions. Obstacles can limit the opportunity to be successful. Naomi B. Florentino is a prime example of a Motlow College student who has turned a difficult situation into a springboard for success.
After graduating from Smyrna High School in 2008, Florentino attended Lipscomb University. However, in the spring of 2009 circumstances prevented her from finishing her degree at Lipscomb. While searching for a new place to further her education, a mentor of hers in Rutherford County recommended Motlow College's mechatronics program.
Four years after that tumultuous spring, Florentino found a new home to pursue her educational goals. She enrolled at Motlow College in 2013, and with the assistance of faculty and staff, made the successful transition.
"My transition to Motlow College was simple," said Naomi. "However, thanks to the faculty and staff, I have been able to approach further opportunities as a student at Motlow."
Florentino will earn an associate of applied science degree in mechatronics technology thanks to Motlow College's mechatronics program, which partners with the Bridgestone Americas plant in LaVergne. Mechatronics is a blend of mechanical, electrical and computerized technologies which form a system that is used by modern operations such as manufacturing and packaging.
In addition to her degree, Florentino will earn valuable experience in the field of mechatronics by working with electronic components, mechanics and computers. The Bridgestone Commercial Solutions Education Center provides Motlow students with labs and classrooms where they can gain hands-on experience.
"Motlow College has taken a unique, hands-on approach to an educational opportunity that will outgrow and sustain its educational investment," explained Naomi. "It is a challenge that very few others have done in the area of mechatronics at a community college level. However, this challenge presents an opportunity for those of us who seek to acquire technical skills as well as the educational opportunities that Motlow College has to offer."
Naomi believes her tenacity helps her overcome challenges in life, and the ability to turn difficult situations into successful opportunities has helped her to become a stronger individual both in and out of the classroom.
"I believe that my unknown talent deals with challenging stereotypes, whether they present themselves in the classroom or in the workplace," Naomi said. "And although it may be a quixotic thought for some, I am following my dream; a career in the robotics industry."
Naomi credits her mother for encouraging her to pursue her aspirations.
"My mother, Albina Bustamante, has always encouraged me to do more than I am expected to," Naomi explained. "Her work ethic and dedication in my educational pursuit have been influential in my career choice. I feel beholden to achieve my goals in life thanks to her unconditional support and encouragement."
Naomi is a member of the FUTORO club at Motlow, an inclusive, professional association for Latino college students. She is on track to graduate from Motlow in December 2015. After graduation, she plans on attending Middle Tennessee State University in order to finish her engineering degree in mechatronics.